In the summer, we ran an online course for our members on How to Write a Monologue. We then invited participants to submit their monologues to us and promised to publish our favourite ones on the blog!
We received some fantastic entries which encapsulated some vibrant characters with unique voices, so it was a difficult task to choose the ones we wanted to showcase. However, we managed to make our selection and we’ll be publishing them over the next few weeks…
This week’s selection: Blessed be the Peacemakers by Alison Rayner
Alison is a graphic designer and has returned to writing after a short film she wrote about a sweet seduction was shot in 2016. A slim volume of her short stories was published in conjunction with the film and ‘Pastry’ (13’, dir: Eduardo Barreto) is now doing the festival circuit and being televised through Eurochannel TV. Alison has written several spec feature screenplays and has recently completed her second full-length stage play.
‘Blessed Be The Peacemakers’ was written in response to a prompt, ‘She turned on the radio’, in a creative writing class and is set when radio was in its heyday. Already, before the Second World War and Churchill’s powerful speeches, Hitler was galvanising an inflicted German nation with his passionate broadcasts. The voice of a little girl was used to capture the innocence, curiosity and confusion that reflects not only the tension in her family but, equally, a nation in crisis. A winner in the themed 2018 Waterloo Festival writing competition, it was subsequently published in Bridge House Publishing’s e-anthology ‘To Be … To Become.’ This is the shorter, published version.
Blessed be the Peacemakers
By Alison Rayner
“I’m so excited! I can already hear the crowds cheer. I can’t wait.
My brother Hans is beside himself. He says our time is coming. He says this will be the start of everything he’s been preparing for. He said that last time, too. And the time before that.
Hans finished dinner early then left the table without even asking! He’s waiting for mother by the radio, but he’s still in his uniform instead of his pyjamas. Father seems angry. He doesn’t like seeing Hans get excited, but I do! He’s all wide-eyed and cheery and smiling and it’s much nicer when he’s like that and not being mean and nasty and pulling my hair or screaming at my boy friends if they don’t follow his orders. And worse. He even punched little Bertel last week. But I’ve seen the older boys do the same to him. And sometimes I hear Hans crying when he goes to bed. I don’t think soldiers are meant to cry. He asked me not to tell anyone and I promised I wouldn’t because he said he’ll take my teddy bear and pull his eyes out and I don’t want Teddy to suffer so it’s our secret even though I don’t want to have any secrets, especially not from mother and father.
Hans tells me he’s a good soldier and he won’t let the Fuhrer or the country or our family down. I don’t know. I don’t think he likes soldiering very much but he likes it when the little boys follow his orders. Yes, he likes that very much.
Hans is itching for mother to turn on the radio. We’re going to hear if we’ve won. I’m not sure what we’re winning, but Hans is already jubilant. I don’t understand why mother and father are so quiet. I think mother is secretly excited because she likes the Fuhrer… a lot. When father isn’t here, when he’s working late, and we hear the Fuhrer talking about what they stole from us and how he’s going to get it all back, she’s very happy. Me too. It’s like Abel at school when he takes our sweets. He’s a big bully. The Fuhrer says that we were bullied and they took all our sweets and he’s going to get them all back for us. And he will. He fixed the country and made it happy again because everyone was sad and poor and hungry and now we have lots of food and nice homes and good jobs and we have fun together like a big family that all thinks and feels the same and I like that feeling too.
I don’t know why father isn’t happy about that. He was angry after the squad leader came with the brown shirts for Hans. I was only little then, but I remember. Mother was pleased because Hans needed more shirts but now he only wears the brown shirts anyway. Hans has such a fine time, I don’t know why he cries about it. He marches and sings and fights and plays cowboys and I think it must be a lot of fun! When I join the League, I can march too. I’m really looking forward to that. We all sing in school. Exciting songs about our dear Motherland and our countrymen. Comrades that are our brothers and sisters even though we don’t know them at all. That makes me feel really special. But when father tells us to stop singing, I just feel sad.
Mother turns the radio on. There’s music. Hans stands to attention like he’s the conductor. Father fidgets. He doesn’t want to be here but he doesn’t want to miss out either. I look at father and I worry sometimes. Maybe he knows something no one else does. Hans ignores father now. He doesn’t believe in him anymore. But I do.
Oh, stop. Listen.
There’s a really long list of countries that are also listening in, just like us. It must be good news!
The crowds are so loud. It’s amazing. There are so many people! I get tingles. Then the Fuhrer speaks. Mother’s eyes twinkle and she smiles at me like I’m the most precious thing on earth.
It’s way past my bedtime and the Fuhrer talks a lot about things I don’t understand but mother tells me to be quiet and that I will understand when I’m older. It’s a very long speech and I’m very sleepy.
The crowd roars again and I jerk awake. Great news! Our stolen Sudetenland has been given back to us! The Fuhrer is so proud. We grow bigger and stronger every day and no one can make fun of us anymore. We are so blessed. We truly are the best people in the world.
The Fuhrer wants peace and happiness for all but he says that everyone else wants war. Why do people want war? I don’t understand. Even Hans wants war. I hear my parents argue at night about how they don’t want him to be a soldier and about him crying. I swear, I didn’t tell them that.
They whisper about the Eidleman’s, our old neighbours, going to America and us not having enough money to go there too but I don’t want to go because all my friends are here and the teacher told me they don’t even speak German there.
I know everything will be okay because the Fuhrer will protect us. He’s built a really big army and we’re very powerful now so we would beat everyone anyway.
Mother says don’t be silly, there won’t be a war. I trust her because she’s happy and positive and wise and I trust the Fuhrer because he’s working hard to make sure everyone feels blessed with the good fortune of our Motherland. But father says there will be a war, and soon, because people are just plain stupid. But he’s been saying that for years.”
If reading this gets you in the monologue writing mood, you can still access the course on our members’ site here. If you’re not a member yet, sign up here!